Marked out by what she wore
‘All the world’s a stage
and all the men and women merely players…’
As You Like It, by William Shakespeare (1599)
I bathe in the theatre air
wait the call to perform
then creak the hangers
releasing my underclothes
the volume of a hooped skirt
conspiracy of a whale bone bodice
reciprocate love in the soft stage thump
of a velvet gown – caress to my role.
Freely, with chatter of courtly heels
I recite Elizabethan verse
feel the audience breathe me in
We watch her sashay our way
wearing the costume’s personality
as it owns her
Hear the whip whip trussing of stays
crush her diaphragm
the three-foot velvet train
tangle her steps
to a full stop.
We tense betrayal till
she – fashion plate in needless stitches –
pins poetry to our postered walls.
A member of Greenwich Poetry Workshop and Magma Poetry, Jane co-edited Magma 65:‘Revolution’. Publication includes poems in Prole, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Long Exposure, Obsessed with Pipework, Picaroon, Tate Gallery anthology.
Jane lives in London but misses the West Country.